“Summers here, and the time is right, for dancing in the street!” Martha and the Vandellas
Summer has befallen unto this shift working dad and the last thing I can find time for is dancing in the street. However, the time is right to rotate the garage of snowblowers, ice melt and holiday decorations for garden spades, mulch,
and annuals. The time is right to fill the bicycle tires, gas up the lawnmower and break out of the winter blues and welcome “The Summertime Blues”.
The school year has ended and, the time is right for shift workers to catch up and rejoice in lost time with the children. Mornings together mean quality time because there is no bus to catch, there are no morning detentions to serve not even a morning alarm clock. Together we sit at the table and share a bowl of cereal with fresh seasonal fruit, have a conversation, and I can notice that my children have become coffee drinkers.
The conversation usually starts with, “What are you doing today?” and the answers are almost always the same and be reduced to this seasonal lament, “We’re board!” I believe them, because I’ve reset the internet password, disconnected the x-box and hid the TV remotes. Summer means the time is right to make the house a tech free zone. I had no choice but to make our home tech free for the summer because it’s easy for children to corner themselves off with social media and other wireless distractions. If internet access is needed, we have a lovely public library only three miles away, and with a bicycle, my children can easily cover that round trip and suffer through the fresh air and the exercise that it brings.
It’s easy to lose track of what I believe summer really is all about, it’s about the social interactions. Opening the windows and doors brings in fresh air, but it’s also metaphoric for freshening our real life, our family, our friends and our neighbors. Not with an online ice cream social, but by getting out and riding a bicycle without shoes, and scraping off your toenail. Joining the neighbors in a game of driveway basketball, making water balloons and then storing them in the garage refridgerator so the target gets an icy soak.
For the shift worker, “Summertime, and the living is easy” shouldn’t just be a verse from a song, it should be as close to reality as possible. Enjoy this gift for what it exactly is, summer + time. Wake up a little earlier, and enjoy breakfast with the family. Laugh, throw a frisbee, time a neighborhood bicycle race, and bandage a toe. Not only will summer be gone very shortly, but so will the time.
Please share your thoughts and comments on reconnecting with your family and have a healthy, happy and safe summer!